The New York Yankees don’t need much to be ready for opening day and on into the trade deadline in July, when Brian Cashman can do his thing again. With two moves, the team can solidify the 25-man active roster, closing the rumor mill door behind them.
It is said the New York Yankees need to add another starter to their rotation. They’ve chased Gerrit Cole since last summer, and it seems the Pittsburgh Pirates enjoy playing with them, even to the point of asking for Gleyber Torres at one time during the discussions.
I count five competent starters on the staff. That should be enough to jumpstart the Yankees in the early part of the season when there are more days off plus more postponements due to inclement weather. Even adding the always present caveat, barring injuries, the team doesn’t need Cole at the price the Pirates continue to ask, and they sure as hell don’t need an aging Yu Darvish signed to a long-term deal.
As far back as the middle of November, Brian Hoch of MLB.com was reporting that Brian Cashman envisioned Chad Green arriving at spring training as a starting pitcher. The Yankees can afford the loss of his arm in the bullpen, so why not continue with that plan?
As in the case last season with Jordan Montgomery, the team will not need a fifth starter until the middle of April, much less a sixth starter—until when? We don’t know. Green will need time to stretch out his arm, and it’s likely the Yankees already have him engaged in a throwing program over the winter designed to do that.
Then, there are the so-called holes at both second and third base, created when both Chase Headley and Starlin Castro were traded. Again, we have the rumors swirling the Yankees are interested in completing a deal with those same playful Pirates for Josh Harrison.
And once again I have the same question, why?
Between Ronald Torreyes, Torres and Miguel Andujar, there is no immediate need to get crazy. Torreyes proved last season he is more than capable of getting the job done defensively at second base, and his .297 average shows he’s no slouch with the bat.
Between Torres and Andujar, one of them will emerge from camp with a full-time job and the other will remain on standby. Andujar (even today) is being mentioned in trade talks by the Yankees, and it could be a make it or break it time for Andujar this spring. Torres too, is in the same situation, only to a lesser extent.
But even with him, at some point, the hype needs to equal reality.
This brings us to Todd Frazier.
Last season, Frazier was the spark that ignited the Yankees from the snores of July and August through September, and on into the playoffs. Frazier’s contributions with the bat were modest, hitting only .222 in 66 games after he came over from the White Sox. He also hit eleven home run and drove in 32 over the same span.
Moreover, Frazier’s bopping around the dugout like a kid in a candy store was noticeable and likely added a relaxing element to the pressure building on the Baby Bombers.
Using Frazier at third base moves Torreyes to second base and removes the iffiness regarding the readiness of Andujar and Torres. Plus, Frazier can be used to spell Greg Bird at first base when needed.
The Yankees appear to be spellbound with Gerrit Cole, and the Pirates know it. That is not a good position for any team to be in. For now, let it be. The Pirates don’t seem to be overly anxious to trade Cole, and it’s likely he’ll still be there in July when the Yankees can make yet another run at him.
In the meantime, they just might have the answer in their backyard in Chad Green. There will be plenty of time to figure it all out.
That’s not the same with Frazier, however, and the Yankees would do well to scoop him in a hurry.